How can I turn reading into a hobby?

Give yourself a one month book reading challenge!

Why one month?

That’s approximately the amount of time it takes to build a habit.

How can you do it?

Follow these 5 simple steps to get you going:

ONE. Get a library membership. Already have one, but haven’t used it in a while? Get it renewed. Don’t like your local library? Find another one a bit farther away that may have a bigger collection.

TWO. Make it a ritual. Set aside one hour every evening when you turn off the TV, get away from the computer and your phone, and read. Create a ritual around it: make yourself a cup of tea, get some good chocolate to go with it, pick some relaxing music to listen to, have your headphones ready, or if you prefer to read in silence, invest in a good pair of soft silicone ear plugs like these to block off noise.

THREE. Start with Quora. Check out recommendations on the best books of all time.

FOUR. Download the Goodreads app  so that you can:

  • Discover new books and authors and check out book lists
  • View book summaries, reviews and updates from your network
  • Get recommendations for books based on your personal reading preferences (by genre, topic, writer)
  • Use the barcode scanner to scan books you find in a bookstore or library that you want to put on your “want to read” list
  • Keep an up-to-date status of your reading by selecting books you want to read, those you’re currently reading, and those you’ve finished
  • Make book recommendations to your network and friends
  • Rate and review books
  • Join book clubs, find literary events in your area, and participate in discussions with members of your network

FIVE. Expand your mind by discovering how other people approach life and create their personal philosophy. Here are a few books that are guaranteed to change your perspective on life:

  • Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl: the psychology of survival and finding strength to live in circumstances where most would give up. It is written as a real life story by a psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor. It is also one of the most humbling reading experiences of my life. I recommend it to every human being.
  • The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer: a roadmap to achieving happiness, an exploration of what letting go can do to one’s life (it’s not what you think! so be prepared to be challenged as you read this), and a discovery of what happens when we tune out the noise of our busy lives.
  • The Untethered Soul (also) by Michael A. Singer: transforming your relationship with yourself and the world around you, a practical guide to letting go of painful experiences, living mindfully, and freeing yourself from habitual thoughts, emotions and energies that limit your growth, your work, and the quality of your life.
  • Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh: a practical guide to finding peace, reducing our daily stress levels and overcoming fears, written in a voice that is kind, calm, reassuring, and wise – a true mark of a spiritual leader.
  • Mastery by Robert Greene: a book that in essence debunks the myth that it takes a genius with innate talent to produce work of timeless quality. Greene gives examples of some of the biggest minds through history, and shows us that it is focus, true passion and most of all dedicating ourselves to doing deep work that can make us successful in what we do.

Tip:

Before you start building a new habit, set aside the reasons why other people are recommending it to you, and instead ask yourself why you want and need to build the habit to begin with.

If you’d like to read more, maybe it’s because:

  • You want to own your time. It’s very different from social media, where a 30-minute browsing session on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat can easily turn into a 3-hour stint. Time flows better with books: there’s a steady rhythm and pace that your eyes follow as they look over the text, as opposed to jumping all over a computer or phone screen searching for what to click and focus on next.
  • You feel more proactive about what you want to do with your free time.With social media, you can’t really control who posts what, how much, or how often; in addition, you don’t know if the posts will be of good quality or if they will be a complete waste of your time. The same goes for TV: there are many shows that can be entertaining, but the whole experience feels more passive. With books, you can select the writers and topics that please you, you can travel back in time, you can customize your learning experience.
  • You give yourself more brain food. You choose to read to feed your brain, to dream, to time travel, to imagine what it would be like to be someone else, to absorb the life experiences of other people, and also to build your life strategy, to figure out how far you want to take your career and personal development, to sharpen your critical thinking skills. The experience of reading can make you feel good by boosting your endorphins, making this daily ritual something that it truly a great investment of your time.
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